weekly-links-3

On many occasions I will turn to my wife to show her an interesting article I’ve just read. Invariably I will think it’s brand new information that everyone needs to know right now. And just as invariably she will ask when it was published. Often the article will be months, even years, old. I haven’t gotten out of the habit of not noticing the date. Some of the articles I’m linking to this week are a few months old. But Twitter is great for recycling old pieces that I think have dated well.

One of the links, about the myth of Irish slaves, is part one of a series that is, as of now, up to six. It’s a wonderfully detailed piece of research. It’s well worth your time.

The rest are a mix of abortion articles, science, philosophy and writing. Enjoy.

*

“There are few topics in modern discourse quite as divisive, as fraught with misunderstanding and as rooted in deeply-held conviction as abortion.” A scientist weighs up the five main anti-abortion arguments

*

“The loss of these possible futures is bad. It makes the killing of a fetus wrong. This is Don Marquis’s argument against abortion. It is one of the best arguments against abortion which does not rest on theological premises.” Abortion, embryo destruction and the future of value argument

*

“In interviews with 27 physicians with a variety of personal religious beliefs, the researchers found that these directives frequently infringed on a doctor’s conscience, forcing them to offer less than the best standard of medical care.” It’s a sin: Women’s lives at risk thanks to holier-than-thou Catholic Hospitals

*

“Before the woman lost consciousness she was asked again about the document she had signed on admission saying no blood under any circumstances. This wasn’t hypothetical, she would die. She said, “No blood.” Those were her last words.” What we can learn from Jehovah’s Witnesses about obstetrical violence and autonomy during pregnancy

*

“In 1915, you would have been hard pressed to find a physicist who believed that time slows down under gravitational force. Yet this is entailed by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, first published that year. It was lucky for Einstein, and for the progress of science, that Dr Gilbert’s proposed prohibition on scientific dissent was not then in force.” Intellectual orthodoxy is a bigger threat than climate change

*

“To put this in perspective, the first living organisms emerged on Earth some 3.8 billion years ago. Since then, there have been five mass extinctions — dubbed the “Big Five” — the last of which killed off the dinosaurs some 66 million years ago. Today, as a result of ecosystem fragmentation, overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction and global warming, we’re in the early stages of the sixth extinction.” It’s Not Alarmist: Trump and the Republican Party Could Destroy the World

*

“This is something I’ve been wondering recently. It’s one thing to disbelieve a study because there are problems with the methods used. But is it scientifically valid to judge a study by its results alone, even if you don’t know of any methodological flaws?” I Just Don’t Believe Those Results

*

“There are plenty of things that make it possible for humans to live in large groups and pack into cities. New building techniques and materials, for instance, allow construction of high-rise buildings; plumbing delivers clean, fresh water and sewage systems that help to prevent diseases. One factor, however, is rarely included on the list: having one or more gods.” Religion as social unifier

*

“Is the Kobayashi Maru a good test of leadership, and of the ethical decision-making that’s a part of it? And what should we make of the fact that Kirk seems to have “beat” the test by cheating?” The Philosophy of Star Trek: The Kobayashi Maru, No-Win Scenarios, And Ethical Leadership

*

“Whatever one thinks of the activities of groups like the I.R.A. or the P.L.O., those activities were governed by certain norms and contained a rational kernel. It is the arbitrariness of jihadist violence and its disregard for moral bounds that make it terrifying.” These Days of Rage

*

“Those that promote the meme of Irish perpetual hereditary chattel slavery use a variety of images entirely unrelated to indentured servitude to accompany their anti-history. I examined a selection of them.” Debunking the imagery of the “Irish slaves” meme

*

“Since the right-wing Law and Justice party seized power in the autumn of 2015 on a familiar wave of anti-immigrant bile and Brussels bashing, Poland has moved to ignore its past as a way of coming to terms with its present.” Poland should face up to its anti-Semitic past

*

“On the one hand, so much inexperienced writing suffers from generalities. The writer is urged to be specific, particular, concrete. At the same time, when the inexperienced writer gives the reader detail on character, clothing, settings, and actions, he tends to give us a surfeit, robbing the reader of one of the great pleasures of reading, exercising the imagination.” Less Is More When It Comes To Setting

Share This: